October 20, 1987

San Diego stocks joined the rest of the market in the free fall Monday that dropped the Dow Jones industrial average by 508 points, or 22.6%, according to Irving Katz, director of research at San Diego Securities.

Panic hit the market as investors took their profits--if any--early and sold to raise cash. The market operates on fear and greed, Katz said, and the byword Monday was fear that the market was forecasting a deep recession that might lead into a depression.

The last week has wrought havoc on Price Co., which dropped another 7 points to close at 32 after receding 7 1/2 points the previous week. Investors in retail stocks were fearful that discretionary purchases will disappear along with the paper profits that the market has wiped out.

WD-40 dropped 6 to 26 3/4 after reporting disappointing fourth-quarter sales and earnings. Although returning a superior return on revenue and invested capital, the company is facing the reality that its products are in a mature market, Katz said.

The savings and loan group was down, along with other interest-sensitive stocks, as interest rates moved higher. Great American First Savings Bank was down 2 5/8, Home Federal dropped 3 3/4 and Imperial Corp. of America was down 2.

Rohr Industries was the largest point loser of the week, down 12 7/8 to 20, as institutions, which are Rohr's major shareholders, decided en masse to bail out.

The conglomerates were also down, with Henley Group off 5 7/8 to 23 3/8 as the market still awaits its planned 20-million-share buyback. Intermark was down 1 7/8 to 11 3/8, joining its Pier 1 subsidiary, which fell 2 to 7 1/2. Fisher Scientific Group was down 4 3/4 for the week, closing at 14 1/2.

Defense and electronics stocks were down, with Cohu off 2, Cubic down 3 7/8, IRT down three-quarters, Precision Aerotech down 1, CCT Corp. down 2 7/8, Cipher Data Products down 2 3/8 and Maxwell Laboratories down 1 1/2 for the week.

The biotechnology companies also got sucked along with Agouron Pharmaceuticals down 1 3/4, Molecular Biosystems down 4 5/8, Mycogen down 1 3/4, Synbiotics down 2, Syntro down seven-eighths and Xytronyx down 3.

Selling seemed to be overdone in Foodmaker, which was down 4 3/8 to 7, down 50% from its high this year, and Mail Boxes Etc., which was down 2 to 12. Selling was also overdone in SDG&E, which was down 4 3/8 while, at 28 5/8, it offers a secure dividend of 8.8%.

Also faring poorly were some of the new issues. Advanced Marketing Services was down 2 3/4 to 7 3/4 after going public recently at 13. Xscribe was down 1 to 6 1/8 after going public at 8. Gen-Probe, which was originally offered at 7, was down 1 3/8 to 5 5/8.

Countering this tide of down stocks was Northview Corp., which was up 6 to 16 3/4 after announcing a possible acquisition by Calmark.

Los Angeles Times Articles